Paramedics are being forced to work in hot polyester uniforms as temperatures consistently push through 40 degrees in some parts of NSW.
The Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) has raised concerns with NSW Ambulance about the risks of forcing paramedics to wear uniforms that do not breathe for three years without NSWA fixing the problem. The current polyester uniform shirt has been described by some paramedics as like working while dressed in a plastic garbage bag.
The APA (NSW) is now advising members to alter the work uniform when necessary to assist them to cope with heat. This includes, wearing NSW Ambulance cotton t-shirts with a NSW Ambulance hi-vis safety vest instead of the polyester button up shirt.
“We have paramedics working in temperatures well above 40 degrees, tending to patients in bushfire zones and having to cope with uniform clothing made from polyester which is totally unsuitable for our climatic conditions or near bushfires,” said APA (NSW) Secretary Gary Wilson.
“The polyester shirt may look smart but it is totally impractical and places paramedics at risk.”
“We are no longer prepared to see paramedics forced to work in hot and sweaty shirts in the summer heat. It puts our members at risk and it puts our patients at risk as well.”
“Paramedics have reported being covered in sweat while trying to treat patients and others have complained of skin rashes and over-heating.”
“NSW Ambulance are well aware of the risks of heat stress and heat exhaustion and it is unacceptable that this uniform issue has not been fixed.”
“We have been talking about uniforms for three years without NSWA fixing the problem. Paramedics are fed up and the APA (NSW) fully supports anyone who wears cooler parts of the uniform to look after their safety,” Mr Wilson said.